February 19, 2010

Blogger and Google Reader Speed Up, Suggestions Improve

Two of the major outlets where I produce content and consume content, both from Google, took steps forward on Thursday, as Blogger announced new improvements to load slow-performing pages more quickly, and Google Reader unofficially made a big move, with the likely addition of Pubsubhubbub support, which makes the service real-time enabled both incoming and outgoing. Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, Reader promised improved recommendations for you to find new sources to follow - including similar sites per feed.

I've been talking up Pubsubhubbub for months now, because it is the engine that is playing an ever-increasing role in pushing my data faster and faster from site to site. Google Reader shares had already been powered by Pubsubhubbub to flow downstream, but it had been widely assumed Google Reader was not using the same kind of lightning speed to get updates as blog posts were added. Starting today, Jesse Stay and others figured out they had flipped the switch.

An Instant Update from Posting to Reader

As others confirmed, and I saw later also, posts that used to take upwards of half an hour to hit Reader, without manual polling, were there practically instantly, showing 0 minutes to 2 minutes of delay. With FeedBurner also Pubsubhubbub enabled, there should be no latency between when I hit the publish button, and the posts hitting FriendFeed, Buzz Twitter and Reader all at once now.

Google has recently been talking a lot now about making page load times a more important element of how they are ranked in the company's search engine. This leads to the next announcement, from Blogger, who says that traditionally slow-loading pages, including label pages and archive pages, are now going to auto paginate these pages to deliver speedier load times in the browser. They are guessing not only will pages load more quickly, but total page views will go up. Always a good thing.

Reader Puts Me In Good Company

Recommendations from Coding Horror

Reader's move to Pubsubhubbub was likely part of a larger code push from the team, which did announce improved recommendations for new feeds. Now, in addition to tailored recommendations for you, you can click any feed and see what they believe are similar sites. For example, I found that Reader finds me most like Lifehacker, ReadWriteWeb, Engadget, GigaOM and Walt Mossberg. All very cool recommendations. I also found out that Reader finds Loic LeMeur's blog to be most similar to TechCrunch, Seth Godin's blog, Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble. I doubt Loic is complaining either.

The amazing thing about this new feature? It was my #1 request way back in March of 2007. It took almost three years, but it's finally here, and I'm going to spend some time finding new sources to follow.

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